Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries’ house and electoral base were removed from the court’s draft map for the congressional district he is seeking to represent, but he said this afternoon his plan is to continue his campaign for the 10th Congressional District held by incumbent Congressman Ed Towns.
After a rally in front of the federal courthouse urging the courts to modify their proposal, The Politicker asked if he would be willing to shift his campaign to the Congressional District he would live in under the court’s map, setting up a primary with Rep. Yvette Clarke instead of Mr. Towns.
“Well, again, that’s hypothetical,” he responded. “My plan is to move forward under the 10th congressional lines as they currently exist, or as they’re proposed.”
Earlier this afternoon, Brooklyn elected officials and activists gathered to protest the court’s draft redistricting map for Congressional lines, and Councilman Charles Barron, as usual, was the most outspoken member of the crowd.
Mr. Barron, who’s running for Congress himself, made it clear his first issue was the term “Special Master” used to describe the court’s redistricting expert assisting int he drafting.
“I think the first thing we got to do is stop calling the judge ‘Master,’” he declared. “Trying to draw us back on the plantation. So I’m going to say ‘judge,’ because we have no master.”
Over at Daily Kos Elections, they’ve been analyzing what the new court-proposed congressional map would mean for the partisan makeup of each district and the incumbent it houses. Based on the percentages Barack Obama and John McCain scored in the 2008 presidential race, a number of swing districts have gotten either more or less competitive.
Notably in New York City, GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s district is a touch more conservative, while the new district created in Queens, which both Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Congressman Gary Ackerman have their sights set for, looks solidly Democratic. More of Republican Rep. Bob Turner’s old territory is in this new district than anywhere else, but it would be a significantly uphill battle if he sought reelection there.
View the full breakdown below:
While the Assembly Democrats declined to weigh in on the Special Master’s court-drawn map released yesterday, the Senate Republicans had a number of specific issues raised with individual districts. However, despite the judge indicating no desire to protect incumbents whatsoever, the Senate GOP’s legal arguments continued to press the point, along with arguing the need to better conform to tradition and protect select communities of interest.
Unsurprisingly, the Senate Republicans arguments seem to favor Republican incumbents’ reelection chances. For example, with GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s new 11th district, they pushed for public housing to be removed from the seat and for ideologically conservative Orthodox voters in Midwood to be added instead.
Earlier today, the courts dropped a small bombshell on New York’s Congressional delegation, releasing a “draft” map for the new set of districts. But what does that mean, and what happens next?
U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann has given a deadline at 9 a.m. tomorrow for any parties to submit comments. She then has until Monday to submit her plan to a three-judge panel. That panel will then hold a hearing for the parties on March 15th and subsequently order a plan into effect.
David Nir, an attorney who now heads the left-leaning Daily Kos Elections blog that closely monitors redistricting developments across the country, said he expected the three-judge panel would adopt the proposed map wholesale.
“In all likelihood, I’d expect the three-judge panel to adopt the magistrate’s final map with few if any changes,” he told The Politicker. “Given the amount of work the magistrate has put into drafting these maps, and her close familiarity with the new lines, I’d be surprised if the three-judge panel chose to second-guess her.”
One of the interesting twists of the court’s draft proposal for New York’s Congressional lines is the new Asian-plurality district created in Queens, and Democratic Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who had been campaigning against GOP Congressman Bob Turner, just announced he would be likely to shift his focus there should the final boundaries look like the draft map.
“The Special Master’s lines came out today, and while I can’t predict what the final lines will ultimately look like, the Special Master’s district six is centered around my home and communities that I have represented in the Assembly, on the community board and as a civic leader for over twenty years,” he said in a statement this morning.
“I look forward to the opportunity to run for Congress when the lines are finalized,” he added.
The special master involved in redrawing New York’s Congressional districts released the court’s draft map this morning, and certainly not every incumbent is going to be pleased. And, unlike the proposals from the State Assembly and Senate majorities, this draft will likely contain far more legal weight as the process moves forward over the next week.
At first glance, the map appears to eliminate Congressman Bob Turner’s Queens-based seat and Upstate Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s one as well. The map additionally eliminates a Nassau County district, dismantling Rep. Gary Ackerman’s the most.
A new plurality-Asian district is created in Queens, which Mr. Ackerman may choose to run for. However, Congressman Joe Crowley, whose district was converted into a 48% Latino seat with more of the Bronx, might also prefer to run for that new seat as well, should the map hold.
Last week, the judge in the redistricting case took submissions from the public on where New York’s new congressional lines should lie, and one group, “the Orthodox Alliance for Liberty,” submitted a plan aiming to unite as many Jewish communities as possible, especially Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and upstate.
In order to justify their proposal, the group argued the lines proposed by the legislative majorities, as well as the existing congressional boundaries, are wholly unacceptable.
“The current districting of the Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the New York City and Long Island area, as well as the maps proposed by the New York State Senate and Assembly majorities are untenable,” they wrote to the court. “The sizable, distinct and ethnic and racial group of Orthodox Jews has been systematically deprived of just representation in the U.S. Congress. This Orthodox Alliance for Liberty implores the Honorable Court to correct an egregious wrong and restore a full voice for New York’s Orthodox Jews in the U.S. Congress.”
Over the last 48 hours, New York’s media, including The Politicker, has been breathlessly providing wall-to-wall coverage of the Senate Republicans’ and Assembly Democrats’ redistricting proposals, which were finally released around midnight last night. Candidates have been reacting strongly as well. One boldly declared a path to victory in last night’s maps, while another amazingly announced his intentions to buy a house in the new district.
However, the maps everyone is reacting to are not likely to relate at all to where the ultimate lines will fall.
First of all, even if the maps had any significant legal weight, it would be impossible to predict how the courts would resolve two opposing proposals.
Secondly, and more importantly, the maps have very little legal influence. One redistricting expert told The Politicker the maps are the equivalent of a “John Q. Public” map that literally anyone can submit to the court.